The brown and yellow bathroom upstairs in Mary & Duane’s 1948 Cape Cod house

Last week, we took a look inside the glamorous black-tiled 1948 master bathroom at Mary and Duane’s house, and now, let’s examine the upstairs bathroom. It, too, has an unusual color combination that we don’t see often in postwar bathrooms — brown wall tiles and yellow fixtures. And it, too, is in spectacular, high-quality, time-capsule shape, as if it had been built yesterday.

The house was in one family all these years, so some stories came with it. Word is, the upstairs in this little Cape Cod house was finished out by dad, a plumbing contractor, for a daughter in the family was either living at home while she went to school or had just started her first job after finishing school. Oops, I forget.

So, upstairs, there is a living area… a second, small kitchen… a bedroom, and various closets

Remember: In 1948, many folks — including where I live, in Massachusetts — had the “Cape Cod” style in their sites as their “dream home.” The Cape Cod style was broadly publicized — and popularized nationwide — by Massachusetts’ own and my favorite architect Royal Barry Wills. It’s a is classic Colonial look… it’s a charming livable style… and folks could “grow” into it by initially only completing the downstairs, then, when their family grew in size, finish the upstairs. More photos to come of the rest of the house (I’m milkin’ it), but you can bet: There’s knotty pine involved in this house, too! No pink bathrooms, though! These homeowners were fashion-forward, going against the (pink) grain! 

Now, all the lovely details:
So there you go: A love letter to a little 1948 brown-and-yellow bathroom, right down to the original Crane shower rod escutcheon.  

  1. Leigh says:

    I admire the craftsmanship of the period bathrooms. I just don’t understand how and why most of the HGTV shows immediately rip them out.

  2. Joe says:

    Yes, they were. I always thought they were cool, but wondered what would happen when it came time to replace the faucet.

  3. Amy Kramer says:

    Thank you! I have a 1949 Ranch with a Brown/yellow combination. I think the brown tiles are the same… Thank you for sharing and appreciating!

  4. kddomingue says:

    Looking at the fourth photo…..am I The only one who sees a funny face? Eyes, the hot/cold knobs. Nose, the faucet. Mouth, the overflow drain. I can’t look at it without giggling!

  5. Cindy says:

    I had this same bathroom flooring in my 1940 Cape Cod. It was underneath another layer of flooring and we had to replace it all. We were able to save a big piece of it and I put it under the kitchen sink.

  6. Sarah Middleton says:

    The HGTV shows rip out and discard quality, vintage fixtures and finishes because the shows are sponsored by Home Depot and Lowes, they must “Push” new materials and new fixtures. Sell, sell, sell!

    The shows funcion as infomercials-commercials for big box stores. They would not recieve money for production if they were not advising consumers to throw away all their “old” stuff and replace it with brand new, often inferior products! It is all salesmanship.

    So learn what you can from the shows, but do not buy into the mind-set that you have to rip out classic, lasting tile jobs and kitchens and baths, and replace them with this year’s cookie cutter trends in cheap fabrications, regardless of your home’s architecture or history.

  7. Mary says:

    Just like Julie said…the grout! First thing I noticed after taking in the initial time capsule look was how can this grout look so good! Love this bath!

  8. Michele DeGroat says:

    Impressed with that Crane shower rod. It is amazing that this bathroom still stands as is since 1948. I love the faucet style too. I’ve tried to find sink legs like these but they are so hard to find. Usually ‘pitted” after all these years. Kohler makes a beautiful all brass sink leg but too expensive $$$.

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